It seems that every second restaurant that opens these days, offers a ‘tapas style’ menu. I think it’s a great way of eating because I like tasting lots of different dishes (also probably because I am half spanish). The problem is that it’s not quite the drawcard that it was initially. When a place said they served dishes tapas style I always wanted to go check it out. Now there are so many that I just take it as it comes. Authentic spanish tapas still catches my interest though. I’m interested in places that serve actual Spanish fare as tapas rather than just small portions of whatever dishes they have put on the menu.
So it was definitely the mention of Churros on the menu that piqued my interest in Barnyard Brasserie. That and the fact that it’s the ex Terroir chef. So on Saturday I headed out to the Willowbridge Centre to try out this new restaurant for lunch.
First impressions were good. The decor is really of a high standard, modern and interesting but still warm. Sometimes modern can result in a cold atmosphere but they got it right. Interesting light fittings, attention grabbing fabric barstools and a fire as well. The view is not exactly Camps Bay or Franschoek, but it’s spacious and green so you get a bit of that natural feeling (which I like). We actually ate al fresco, and it was very pleasant. While I’m on the decor, I must mention that the toilets are very nice. That is something that makes such a difference. A toilet that smells clean, looks clean and preferably has interesting and modern decor is great, but to top it off I like special hand soap with some exotic smell. They had all of it.
We only ordered from the tapas menu, although there were not more than 5 or so dishes on the lunch menu which weren’t available on the tapas menu (the dinner menu is different – average dish around R80). The portions are quite small and range from R25 to R35. We tried 6 dishes and were left feeling slightly peckish, but ordering more would have made the lunch a bit too expensive. Tapas are normally served with bread, which makes them more filling, but we didn’t receive any bread at all, neither with the tapas nor before. The best dish was the Spinach, Mozzarella and Chorizo Parcels, extremely tasty (although anything with Chorizo in is usually extrememly tasty). The Squid with Rouille was not great, a strange flavour. The Chipirones (calamari in its ink) is an acquired taste. I enjoyed them but imagine some might not. Our impression of the tapas was that they were tasty and interesting, but their size and price might make them more appropriate as a starter than a meal.
We washed the food down with 2 glasses of red wine (R20), the wine list had a fairly wide price range and the selection was big enough to satisfy most people. We had no (serious) complaints regarding the service. Our waiter was friendly and accomodating which covers any minor mistakes he made.
The Barnyard Brasserie also offers a Chef’s Table, where you can have a private table with a view of the kitchen (up to 10 people). It’s the Harvest Table that sounds the most appealing. The harvest table is offered on Sundays at lunch time. For R130 per head, you are able to help yourself to the buffet table of starters and then select a main and dessert from a set menu. Follow the website link below to read more about it and see the delicious menu.
While Willowbridge is a bit of a drive from central Cape Town, we felt that it was a worthwhile trip. I’d recommend the Barnyard Brasserie without hesitation.
Willowbridge Lifestyle Centre
Tel: 021 914 7242